Rangers, Cougars Split Twin Bill Season Opener
Pueblo, Colo.: (By Dylan Docker) The Regis baseball season officially began Saturday, though not in the way either team had predicted. Snow in Denver moved the 2012 season opening series between the Rangers and University of Sioux Falls to Hobbs Field in Pueblo, where the Rangers played as the home team.
Sioux Falls defeated the Rangers 6-5 in game one, but the Rangers answered with a 7-4 win in the nightcap.
Senior righty Charlie Henderson started game one for Regis. He was opposed by Sioux Falls sophomore left-hander Noah Coleman.
Sioux Falls had built a four-run lead in the fourth inning, but a big play from the Regis defense helped limit the damage. Senior Kirk Santos was cut down at the plate to put an end to the Cougars' rally. Sophomore right fielder Steven Brault was credited with an outfield assist on the 7-6-2 put out.
Junior right-hander Alec Mielnicki came on for the Rangers in the sixth inning, relieving Henderson after five innings, six strikeouts, and four earned runs allowed.
The Rangers got to Coleman for a run in the sixth inning, and then tacked on three more in the seventh inning. Sloppy defense from the Cougars forced the visitors to lift their starter after 6 1/3 innings.
Sioux Falls broke the 4-4 tie with a pair of runs off of Mielnicki in the eighth inning. The Rangers would answer in the bottom half, scoring a run after a throwing error and a fielder's choice.
Sophomore Derek Fischer, who relieved Coleman in the seventh, allowed the unearned run but preserved the Sioux Falls lead en route to the 6-5 win.
Fischer (1-0) picked up the win for the Cougars after throwing 2 2/3 innings of relief with three strikeouts. Mielnicki (0-1) took the loss for the Rangers.
Senior left-hander Stephen Falconi took the hill for the Rangers in game two. The Cougars countered with junior righty Chris Nichols.
Regis struck for three runs on a first inning homer from sophomore Jon Shoutta. After retiring the first two Ranger hitters, Nichols hit Brault with a pitch and walked sophomore Tony Piazza to set up Shoutta's three-run blast.
Falconi got into trouble in the second inning, yielding a pair of runs on a trio of singles and a walk. He would settle in from that point, allowing only two earned runs and striking out five in four innings.
The Rangers again got to Nichols in the fifth inning, tagging the Cougars starter for six hits and four runs to give Regis a 7-2 lead. Nichols was lifted for a reliever after 4 2/3 innings.
Brault moved from first base to the mound to get the final three outs for Regis. The Cougars scored a pair of runs, but Brault was able to settle in and secure the 7-4 victory for the Rangers.
Falconi (1-0) was the winning pitcher for Regis, while Nichols (0-1) was charged with the loss for Sioux Falls.
The Rangers (1-1) and Cougars (1-1) will conclude their four game series with another doubleheader tomorrow, again to be played at Hobbs Field in Pueblo. Game one is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. and game two is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.